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The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro
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4Gears4Tires
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:31 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Sure thing, Fred! I think you probably picked the wrong market for widespread appeal, but I appreciate it. Laughing When you finalize your design, maybe consider making one for the BMW 2002 or some other older sporty vehicle.

I feel like I've covered all the preventative maintenance, but I am just not confident. I'm not even sure if I put a rebuilt motor and trans in there would I feel more confident. I know I would feel better if it had a zetec and rebuilt trans, but that's a lot of work and money for a vehicle I am not 100% sure on right now.

I would like to drive it to Seattle in September, but that seems a very short time away for how much I need to build my trust in it.

tschroeder, that is quite a list of adventures, haha. AAA is a must.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:53 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

I replaced my coolant cap (a month ago) because dobryan pointed out that there was air in my reservoir, that must mean the cap is bad. I replaced the cap, I am still finding air there.

Last weekend, before going on the 260 mile trip, I cracked the reservoir to let the air out. Then I opened the radiator bleed screw and used a windshield washer reservoir and pump to pump coolant into the radiator. That should be pretty well full. Well I guess it was because when I made a stop I got coolant POURING out of the top of the overflow. Temps were fine, 195-200F going into the radiator. I thought that was weird, but didn't think much of it because "at least it's fully bled now."

Temps were fine the rest of the trip there and the trip back. No more coolant spills. I just checked 5 minutes ago and I have the same amount of air in the coolant reservoir, about the top 25%. Did I get a bad cap? Should I try ordering a second cap? Replace cap and reservoir? Thoughts?
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 10:26 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Something to chew on:

https://intrepidoverland.com/bad-coolant-pressure-cap-or-bad-head-gasket/
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4Gears4Tires
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:35 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Thanks, I guess a few tests are in order. Unfortunately what the article is describing sounds sickeningly accurate.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:03 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

So after a week of trying to ignore the van I decided to crack on with it. First I did a compression test and all seemed in order.

Clockwise from top right.
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That seems ok, but tencent pointed out that even acceptable compression test results will not indicate a failed fire ring. I then noticed that I had really shortened the coolant line from the pressure tank to the reserve tank and it had a fairly severe kink in the line. I tried blowing into it and I could not blow through it. Immediately (being the hopeful dreamer that I am) I thought high coolant pressure could force its way past this kink but on cool down, the vacuum would not be able to pull coolant back. I think this is possible, but it remains to be seen.

I replaced the spark plugs, even though I was fairly happy with how the old ones looked, with NGKs and replaced the alternator because I had seen that the volt meter liked to stay around 12.5 volts. To top it off I adjusted the valves and changed the oil. NAPA is currently having a sale on 5qts of oil for $16.50, so I stocked up. I think the last oil change was when I put the motor in and I have driven anywhere from 500-1000 miles since then. The oil came out pretty gross, I will need to do another oil change soon.

Adjusting the valves with the contact + 1/4 turn method really quieted the motor down. I was surprised how much free play there was and mad at myself for not adjusting the valves when I put this motor back in the van. It sounds like a normal old motor now, instead of a diesel. Idles better. But when it was cold, it really lacked power under 2500rpm, like it was starving for fuel. Then after 2500rpm it felt like a turbo (a very small one, let's be honest) started spooling up. After it warmed up, this went away. Could the timing do this? It's not like there is a dedicated cold timing adjustment.

So my next steps will be to keep bleeding the coolant system to really make sure it's excess air or exhaust gases in the pressure tank. Has anyone had any luck with this style of tester? https://www.amazon.com/Block-Tester-BT-500-Combust...64UJCS75EO I would assume not since the radiator is higher than the reservoir. What a frustrating coolant system design.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2020 8:57 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Two disconcerting things:

1. I put a valve stem over the coolant cap nipple and put 20 psi to it. It bled down fairly quickly. I can't find any leaks anywhere.

2. I saw a lot of bubbles in the reservoir when revving the motor.

Off to buy a engine block tester I guess. Mad
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2020 9:19 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

What's an engine block tester?
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2020 11:19 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/BK_7001006?partTyp...ock+tester

The way it works is the fluid will react to hydrocarbons and change from blue to green/yellow. It sucks gas in with a little rubber hand squeeze bladder and a 1 way check valve.

So the first step was to remove some coolant from the reservoir so that I didn't draw coolant into the tester. I saw a clear hose already on the rear deck for a funnel I had been using to fill the burp tank and I thought, why not siphon it out? Just don't get it in your mouth, harhar! Well guess what, it tastes terrible. Don't do that. So I walked the 30 feet for the fluid transfer pump, regretting my previous decision very much and pumped some coolant out.

After much revving and dozens of air samples, the test fluid is still blue! Success! I think my previous supposition that the overflow line was kinked may be accurate.
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Here you can see the tester sticking out from the engine bay. It jams into the reservoir with a rubber flange.
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And just to verify that the tester works, I sniffed straight from the tailpipe. You can easily see the difference in color.
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So, I think my engine is ok. That's a fairly large weight off my mind.

Of course, nothing goes perfect and with the amount of times I took the expansion line on and off the reservoir cap I snapped the nipple off (I may have been hamfisted with it out of frustration). Wonderful. At least I still had the old cap in my parts pile.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2020 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

It looks like your engine has a 2wd intake boot installed stretched out to reach the higher AFM (between the AFM & TB).

Here's the correct syncro boot

https://www.busdepot.com/025129627h

And the 2WD. The giveaway is the angle on the pleats

https://d3inagkmqs1m6q.cloudfront.net/1517/media-p...27-f-2.jpg
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:44 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

It certainly does, didn't know there was a difference. Always wondered why fitting it was a bit odd. Thank you for letting me know.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:43 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Ajdenette kindly sent me a spare syncro boot he had, so that is sorted.

Now to the next mod. I want to go camping this weekend, for the the first time with the van! So we're going to need some power. I ordered a kit last week and it showed up this week. I had today to install it. You can find it here. I have nothing but good things to say about the kit so far. Instructions were good and the cables of good quality.

The boxes marked fragile were very heavy.
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Figuring general layout for the two 100 amp hour batteries, inverter, and solar controller.
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Wired up for 12v. One thing that really irked me is that I measured and cut the kick panel before finishing my cup of coffee. Yep, I cut 3/4" off the top instead of off the bottom. Which meant I had a real nice time trying to redrill the holes to mount it. Confused Measure once, cut a few times. It's like artillery, you walk it on to target...
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I think the normal way to install a solar kit is top down, but I went bottom up because Metal Supermarket told me my angle aluminum would be ready at 3pm. Plenty to get done by then anyway. At this point, most of the in cabin stuff is where it should be, so start on the rack with what I have on hand. 1" box tube. I disassembled the existing roof rack, but reused the mounting points because they had a really nice bolt through the center which I thought I could reuse.
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The nut just stays captive, definitely planned that. Laughing
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It's putting out voltage! I am definitely missing some steps here. Metal Supermarket gave me 1/16" angle and I asked for 1/8" and I didn't notice until I was home and already drilling holes. So things got rushed for a minute. Incidentally, this is not a very space efficient layout. Rail to rail is 55.5" and the panels are 26"x40". With 3 panels in a row, it's 78". If I had bought 4 panels and laid them out 4 square, it would be 52"x80". Only 2 more inches in length for another 100w! Not to mention better roof coverage for reflecting heat.
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Three outlets and it doesn't even look that intrusive!
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Don't look at the scribing and cutting! I blame the quarter cup of coffee, I could barely think! Whatever, it's uh.. it's vented. For air flow!
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I have 2 more rails to create a little storage rack area in front of the panels, or at least to mount a fairing of some sort. Next time, I barely made it to this point as it is.
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Now let's see how far the van can go!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 4:23 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

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Packed up and ready to hit the road!

So dbeierl definitely saved my motor with his diagnosis of a dead coolant level relay. I didn't really know how far the van would make it and I wasn't entirely sure how reliable the motor was but I thought, hey, let's set the sights on upper Michigan. Well, the van made it to about mid Pennsylvania and the red light starts flashing. Pulled over, coolant tank is near empty. Bled the air out of the tank and kept going. About 30 minutes later, it's blinking again. What to do? We looked around and saw Black Moshannon State Park was not far and it listed it had biking trails so off we went. Didn't quite make it 15 minutes before I saw the red light and again cracked the coolant tank until the air was out. This park had very easy trails, but it was really pretty. More importantly, it let us relax and not worry about the van for a minute.
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In the morning I remembered tencent's advice about it being better to start bleeding from the radiator because the pressure from the reservoir will push the air out. So I did that. Then I transferred all the displaced coolant from the overflow tank to a container, held the rpms at 2000, and poured it back into the reservoir and screwed the cap back on.

I saw on Trailforks that the area below State College, PA looked like it had good trails and it was headed in the direction of home. Turns out this area was awesome! We hit a few trails and then camped in the Penn Roosevelt State Park and discussed what to do.
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Originally we had wanted to spend a week on the road but with cooling issues that wasn't going to happen. Spending time in these forests sounded great, but there was zero cell reception in the valleys and we needed to work. We found a campground/rv/park/cabins for rent near the highway with excellent cell coverage and decided why not just stay the week here.
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From here, all the trails in the area were 30 minutes and less in driving and the van could easily handle that. After our ride, I would burp the radiator and then add coolant to the reservoir. I rode solo in the morning and then we would ride together in the afternoon. It was a lot of shuttling back and forth, but PA is really pretty so I didn't mind.
Rattlesnake Canyon Trail - really steep twists, fun stuff
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Cloyer Lake Trail - really fun flowy trail
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Sass-xx Trail - beautiful trail, but not sure about the black rating
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No Name Trail - lots of rocks, not a lot of room for mistakes
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Peep Trailhead
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Peep Trail - the top of this trail went straight with lots of jumps. This jump made me realize that at the end of my loop I was going to come back to this trail just to ride it back down. It was awesome.
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Beautiful overview, the van is parked somewhere in the valley below. Going up the gravel roads made for easier ascending.
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Finally made it to the top of Broad Mountain, what a climb!
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The trail marker said Johnson Trail, I was looking for the Ross Trail. GPS coordinates said I was at the trailhead, so I started down. Even though the Ross trail was a double black, I started wondering if I had gone the right way. This was getting difficult!
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Checked Trailforks, yep, I definitely took the wrong trail. It was even labeled! Sometimes I really wonder about myself.
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With the Johnson Trail spitting out me not where I wanted to be and being mad at myself for not picking the right trail, I headed back up Broad Mountain. I remember the top had been logged so I kept a close eye on the brush for the path. What looked like an area a truck had turned around in kept going. Success, I found the path. To help others, I stacked some rocks at the trailhead. Hopefully the PA parks puts the trail marker back.
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Ross Trail, really fun double black. Has a downhill section that is so steep it needs to be seen to be believed. Great trail features like this jump too.
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Pig Pile Trail - excellent trail. If you're ever in the area, this is a trail to do. It's really pretty because it follows the ridgeline down so every once in a while you get really great views of the valley. You can also end with Old Lewistown Rd Trail which is a 1.3 mile straight shot where you can get up to some really sketchy speeds, haha.
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Long Mountain Trail, the gas pipeline forest cut made for a nice overview.
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What a sight for sore legs! The van!
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The van is really comfortable chugging around at 25mph in 2nd gear on these back country roads.
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I should have taken a pic of the pizzas we got here at Pizza Heaven in Spring Mills, PA. For a small town in the middle of nowhere, they had first class pizzas. Amazing. And yes, that is the restaurant's building behind the van. Definitely a don't judge a book by it's cover situation.
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Packed up for the trip home. As we were getting gas in the area on the way out, the guy next to us engaged me in conversation. He had seen the van around the mountains the past few days and had owned a Vanagon in the 90s. They loved it but he said the continual mechanical issues with the engine forced him to sell it. I laughed. Yep.
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We stopped at the William Kain State Park to burp/transfer the coolant, eat lunch, and stretch our legs.
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And success! We are back home.
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I think we did 1200 miles or so and I guess tencent is still right about a fire ring leak. I think I have not revved the motor high enough when I tested it. 2000rpm can sound pretty loud when you have your head in the engine bay, but if the leak is only at 3800rpm+ it won't show up. I was considering dropping the motor and pulling the heads tomorrow, but the van can do 200 miles without an issue currently so I think I will just wait a bit.

Also, what a difference the cabin air control kit makes on long drives. Wow. We are both pleased as punch with it. https://intrepidoverland.com/shop/cabin-air-control/
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:58 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Fun trip! I enjoyed it. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:51 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

So with temps in the 30s they brought a new friend. A slight grind in all the gears. Fun stuff. The good news is that I switched to Pennzoil Syncromesh and I am blown away how much smoother it shifts over the Valvoline 75w90. Doesn't grind anymore, even when cold. Although I am paranoid now and blip the throttle mid shift to match the revs closer.

This is the drain plug after a few thousand miles. It was heavily coated and had shards the last time. So it was nice to see no shards, just accumulated grit. Maybe in a few more thousand miles it'll come out even cleaner.
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By the way, if you try using the type of hand pump that screws into the top of the bottle, you know how much they suck. After breaking plenty of them, I bought this style of pump. 5 pumps and the bottle is empty, it's really impressive. It does help to have 2 people though because the tubes can decide to go every direction.
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A few weeks ago I had a hunch that the air in my coolant may be related to the rear heater core because 1. I tested the coolant for exhaust gases and I didn't find any and 2. whenever I turned on the rear heater I could smell coolant. And it was certainly getting worse with time.

So I clamped the lines shut. Unfortunately I think one clamp was too small to effectively squish the line so it didn't stop the behavior completely but this was enough to change the behavior. And that is progress. I went on an 1.5 hour drive and I had barely any air in the system after a fresh bleed. Then it poured coolant out of the burp tank after only 5 minutes of idling. Oh well.
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With that knowledge, I knew I needed to remove the rear heater lines and cap them with spark plugs like I have seen on the forums so many times. Wink Unfortunately, some shadetree mechanic installed the floor way too tight around the heater core box and I couldn't access the screws to remove it. So out came the chisel and hammer. Also to note, this picture is taken after, but I could see the wet floor at this point so I knew it was actually leaking.
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The design of the cover is really "interesting." You can't remove it with the seat in the way. As I had just taken the seat bottom off and I really didn't want to remove the whole seat, the chisel came in use again. I cut the cover straight down on either side of the vent so the cover could lift straight up. Unfortunately with all the banging around it really jostled whatever point was leaking and the coolant started pouring down from the floor.
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I yanked the cover off and I certainly got startled off for a second! Wonder how long he'd been in there? Old mouse turds underneath the cover certainly pointed to the reason he got cooked on the heater core.
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I assume there is an o-ring in this clamped section. It is not doing it's job anymore and coolant came visibly draining out. (Side note: I just realized I probably could have just replaced this o-ring and put it back in the van. Hah.)
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Lacking appropriately sized spark plugs, I found my finest brand new M16 bolts, covered them with PTFE paste and clamped them in there. I set the heater core cover back in place because my battery bank needs it for stability, I will have to rework that.
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I did 2000rpm idle hold and added coolant into the reservoir and went for a drive. Then the next day did a 40 minute drive x2. Came home, didn't see any air in the reservoir and the burp tank was at the same level! Success! Then today, I drove 2 hours to Bryce bike park and when I got there, the burp tank was overflowing and the reservoir was half full. Dejection! However, I surmised that the heater core lines were full of air and it's possible that first bleed was not adequate. I cracked the bleed at the radiator, let it hiss out, tightened it, and hit the trails. At the end of the day I drained the burp tank back into the coolant bottle and added it back to reservoir. Then began a super painful 3 hour long drive home because traffic, road work, and accidents were just in plentiful supply. I was paranoid about the blinking red light of doom the whole way home. Especially with all the stop and go traffic I was hitting.

However when I got home the burp tank was at the same level and the coolant tank had a bit of air in it. So... what's the verdict? I don't know but it's looking hopeful.
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I cracked the bleed screw at the radiator and it hissed for a bit then straight coolant came out. I'm hoping if I top off the reservoir again that'll be sorted. Maybe a few more times. But maybe my fire rings aren't leaking. I'm hopeful!

Now if my gas gauge read more than 3/4 when the tank is full and the rear seat would stop squeaking and my front blower motor worked and the sliding door latched every time and the alignment was perfect and the rust underneath the windshield was fixed and rear drums wouldn't shake...
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:40 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

The burp tank to reservoir tank actually worked like it is supposed to for, I think, the first time in my ownership. Coolant was transferred out from the burp tank to the reservoir over night as it cooled.

I want to be excited but I also don't want my hopes and dreams dashed on the sharp rocky shores of reality.

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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:51 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

the coolant pressurized tank w/cap is supposed to be FULL. and remain full at all times.

nearly there.. surprising how finicky these can be.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:42 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

You're getting there! I don't understand where all of this coolant is going though..?

Also have you tried the gowesty pump to bleed the system when its cold? I love mine and suggest it to anyone I see.

Finally upper michigan... were you considering Marquette? I lived there up until a year ago and loved the trails up there and miss them dearly.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 10:48 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

No plan for where in MI as I wasn't really confident we would make it, hah.

Besides the coolant that went to the floor, the coolant collects in the burp tank. I drain that back to the coolant gallon bottle and then pour it back into the reservoir. So the amount of coolant I've lost over time is actually fairly minimal as I keep recycling it. I've had to do it basically every trip leg, so I've gotten fairly adept at the routine!

I've found that the gallon bottle fits snugly down below the reservoir resting on the exhaust pipes and then I can put the burp tank feed line into it and let the burp tank drain down.

I did try the gowesty pump idea awhile ago. A standard valve stem fits very snugly over the reservoir cap and then I used shop air to pressurize. It went from 20psi to 0 very quickly, letting me know there was a leak in the system. Although at that point I was still assuming it was the fire rings so I didn't keep doing it because I didn't want to hydrolock the motor.

I'm really hoping the reservoir stays full now. Pray
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2020 6:24 pm    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

The oem curtain system is very nice, but a bit pricey. Looked like it was $400. GW has the reflective suction cup system for also $400. I ordered curtains off amazon for $12 for 2 or whatever they were and a 100 feet of elastic cord. I think I have $40 or $50 into this system. I think it's ok, but I will need to add magnets to the base of the curtains.

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And then to test it out we did a little fire and camping. The river (creek at this point) was pretty.
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Blue moon!
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Remembered the interior LED light string could also be festive Halloween lights. Laughing
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And the van the next morning.
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We used a heated blanket overnight and it worked out really well. It used almost no power, ran throughout the entire night, and I still had over 12v the next morning in the 200ah battery bank.

Shifting is very stiff, I think I used the wrong lube on the linkage bushings. I used a suspension lube for poly components and while it's pretty strong I think it's entirely way too much effort to shift. I think I am going to try to clean it out and use white lithium grease.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:33 am    Post subject: Re: The "great-life-lesson-on-limits-and-not-cheapening-out" Syncro Reply with quote

Awesome! Glad you are out enjoying the fruits of your labor.

(Is your spare contacting the shifter shaft? Mine did for a bit and it made the shifter stiff, until I totally aired down the spare.)
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